Swaggy P game-winning 3 vs. Spurs

Nobody in the world can guard me one on one.

– Nick Young, to Kobe Bryant yesterday.

Moments ago, Swaggy P backed it up with this bail out go ahead 3 in San Antonio to propel the Lakers ahead for good 112-110 for an entertaining overtime win. Swaggy had 29 on a night where Kobe Bryant fell short by 8 points of passing Michael Jordan for 3rd on the all-time scoring list. Kobe was dishing dimes though (6 in the 4th and OT) and the Spurs locked him up pretty good down the stretch too. Still, one of the most entertaining games of the night went down to the wire.

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Earlier in the game…

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Here’s Swaggy P’s post-game interview. Just as good.

Also memorable: another Pop interview…

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2014 NBA Champions: San Antonio Spurs

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs a tribute post here on Gowhere. This was probably the most in-depth I’ve ever followed the league as a whole, beginning here on Gowhere with a pre-season preview (that’s a fun re-read), a pre-Playoffs preview, 1st Round recapand NBA Finals preview (these all contain music btw… humor me and click at least one :D). My point being: the San Antonio Spurs clinching The Finals last night, redeeming their heartbreaking loss to last year’s Heat, was as satisfying an ending to a great season for me personally, save for Derrick Rose hoisting the NBA Title in Chicago.

I feel what drew any casual NBA fan to this year’s Spurs was a combination of traits to be admired. For one, the aforementioned narrative of redemption and letting go of past, heartbreaking events to triumph above and achieve one’s goals. Secondly, the Spurs were the consummate team. The dream team for basketball purists: a team that relies on no superstars, plays team defense, and is the best passing team on offense (averaging 3.0 passes per play in the last 3 games in The Finals, for instance.) One of the many fun stats that is further gratifying: “In what may be a testament to the Spurs team philosophy, Tony Parker led the team in scoring this postseason with just 17.4 points per game. According to Elias, that’s the fewest playoff points per game by a championship team’s leading scorer in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).” You get the point, I can go on. But lastly, it’s the much-talked about and easily-seen class of the organization from top to bottom. The ownership, Coach Pop, and Tim Duncan exude humility and respect that they are known for around the league as much as winning championships 15 (!) years apart. All of this was on full display during the Spurs’ joyous post-game trophy presentation when Pop and chairman Peter Holt took to the background while the team mobbed Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili was left near-speechless describing his “true team”.

So without further ado, enjoy some of the visuals that the end of the season brings… images all parts epic, elation, and hilarious below and if you hadn’t press play already above: an amazing unofficial NBA Playoffs Recap video that is better than any official one to drop in the future. Approximately 4.5 months until the start of the next NBA Regular Season. *nods head*

BONUS: Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard: Winning NBA Title on Father’s Day has ‘special meaning’

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(not from last night, but… clearly I need no explanation)

Heat-Spurs II (as told thru song)

With the 2014 NBA Finals underway tonight, I feel it’s only right to write some words on Heat-Spurs II, especially after my previous soundtracks to recap a 1st Round for the Ages and Playoff Preview. While the latter link contains some now-laughable predictions, I can at least hang my hat on the correct one that matters: Spurs vs. Heat. I wrote the Spurs would be celebrating to “Trophies” back then in April and I won’t be changing my pick now since after seeing the Spurs at their best the past 2 rounds has only made me more confident they stop the Heat Peat.

So that means you can stop reading right now, right? Wrong! What new song embodies the Spurs and Heat this June? Before I reveal, a movie-style trailer above to get you amped up for Game 1.

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I can’t remember when I was this excited about a rematch in which I had no horse in the race. Maybe that’s in large part because the NBA Finals rarely boasts rematches: the last one was Bulls-Jazz in ’97 and ’98 and I clearly had a horse in that race. Before that it was Pistons-Lakers in ’89 and ’90 and I was 3 years old. I should note though that the Celtics-Lakers Finals in 2 out of 3 years has a similar to vibe to the Spurs this time hosting the Heat.

Alas, there is one new song that instantly jumped to mind for various reasons to personify the most complete team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs.

Common’s new single “Kingdom” is an exemplary record of depth and substance that looks at the harsh realities of urban life, set to a monumental, ominous church sound. Com Sense links up with producer and longtime collaborator No I.D. for the first single to Nobody’s Smiling, and together, they team up for a raw hip hop gem on par to the quality of their collabs 20 years ago on Ressurrection or even before that on Com’s 1992 debut, Can I Borrow a Dollar?. It’s just that “Kingdom” has that cutting-edge 2014 raw sound just as Common’s first two albums were cutting-edge for the early 90s.

So needless to say, you can see where I’m going here right? Common and No I.D. are the Duncan and Popovich of hip hop: both duos excelling and adapting their craft today as all-star veterans after establishing such rapport and success together as rookies in the game. And if Com & No I.D. are Duncan and Pop, then think of Vince Staples as the Kawhi Leonard of “Kingdom” as he infuses his youthful energy and thought-provoking perspective into the single. If Staples didn’t bring his ‘A’ game to bring the song full circle with the concluding line, “make the best from the least on the quest for them keys, to the kingdom,” then Common’s single wouldn’t be a championship-level record.

The analogy applies for Kawhi who has improved since last year’s Finals to become a deadly two-way threat, capable of slowing LeBron James down and making him work defensively. His emerging confidence, and health, along with Ginobili’s improved health and play compare to this time last year are enough to swing my prediction to the Spurs, especially with Tony Parker looking like he’ll be OK to start out the series.

But on the other side, there’s LeBron James and the Miami Heat and there ain’t no better song to describe them than Drake’s newest record this past Sunday, “0 to 100”.

0 to 100 real quick

This comparison is a little more self-explanatory. For the past four seasons really, the Miami Heat have had the quickest on/off switch in the league. When the Big 3 are clicking, or LeBron, Wade, and a role player or two, the Heat are unguardable. That usually goes hand-in-hand with forcing timely turnovers and letting LeBron loose in the open court. Therefore, the most fascinating matchup will be the Spurs-league leading assist offense versus the Heat defense. I’m curious to see if LeBron will be jumping those passing lanes and if he does and is successful, watch out.

Speaking of LeBron, isn’t he due for a dominant legendary Finals? Jalen Rose brought this up in yesterday’s Jalen Rose Report: LeBron hasn’t yet had the Jordan-esque game-to-game series yet in his previous 4 trips to the Finals. With LeBron fully in his prime and experience in the clutch, a LeBron-led Heat series win in 6 would not at all be surprising. After all, noted Drizzy fan Bron may be rapping this line from “0 to 100” during tonight’s Game 1 warmups.

If I ain’t the greatest than I’m headed for it!

*nods head* Perfectly applicable.

That said, Spurs in 6 in perfectly poetic fashion in Miami.

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And having said that, I can’t help but resist a couple bonus tidbits today:

What were Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant doing the night of the eve of The Finals? Why, having dinner together reports TMZPerhaps they were talking about their respective Finals anniversaries today… (albeit Jordan’s a tad bit more iconic)

OH, A SPECTACULAR MOVE, BY MICHAEL JORDAN!

(As pumped as I am for tonight, those were the days.)